I took my first step into the world of Sacred Circle Dancing in Ottawa in 2001. Slowly and with learning, inspiration, and encouragement from teachers, June Watts and Barbara Herring, I developed my own approach and practice of this dance and began to facilitate circles in 2012.
My interest and intention with this embodied practice is to hold space for reconnection and re-enchantment with the land, animals, plants, people and All That Is. As we dance simple repetitive steps in unison in a circle the mind becomes quieter, something can turn within and listen while also striving to connect with others in one unified and harmonious movement. We can sense that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. Circle dance is one of the oldest forms of dance on earth. It was danced around fires, and it brought people into community in village squares in many parts of the world. They danced naturally in a circle to celebrate the return of the sun, celebrate the harvest, and mark life’s passage.
First, I co-lead a circle in Ottawa, then led a bilingual circle in Aylmer, Quebec, a circle in Nanaimo, BC and now am co-leading a circle in the Outaouais-Ottawa region. I have also facilitated circle dances as part of or many Life Cycle ceremonies such as House and Land Blessings, Celebrations of Life and Community healing circles.
“I felt so good during the gathering in Aylmer. The word that came to me, but that I didn’t share at the time, is “coherence”. It is a very good feeling. I want to pursue this path.” Marie-Michèle
“Thank you, Jen for coming and teaching us all a new way of dancing and appreciating ourselves and nature! I had a great time dancing and helping to create the circle of dances!” Kathy
In Nanaimo,BC I dedicated myself to facilitating seasonal celebrations at each sacred festival around the wheel of the year – the solar festivals of solstices and equinoxes and the lunar quarter festivals Imbolc – the first stirring of spring, Beltane – the peak of fertility, Lammas – the first harvest and Samhain – the start of the new year on this day dedicated the beloved dead.
My intention was to explore my connection to the land I was living on and to share this exploration with other seekers. I was living on Vancouver Island surrounded and supported by such unfathomably powerful nature, on land that has been loved and lived on by the Snuneymuxw people for many generations. Sacred Circle Dance is one way I have found to explore my connection (or lack of connection) to my own indigenous roots and ancestry, and I am aware of how tricky this is – since my ancestors, culture and traditions come from another continent.
- The dance allows me a way to be with and explore many things I can’t understand or change.” Roblyn
- Thank you for sharing your poem, and for leading the Samhain dance. I am very glad to have happened upon your circle-making. There is something deeply nourishing about repeating steps, directions together.” Sylvia
- Your ability to share your heart’s wisdom, life experience, vulnerability, authenticity – in essence your PRESENCE is so very grounding as well as providing a sense of reaching to the stars.” Catherine
Below are the themes we explored and the beauty we created and experienced during the eight sacred festivals of the year.
Winter Solstice – Bowen Park Amphitheatre, near Millstone River
“Surrender to the Dark and Birth the Light”
Imbolc – Bowen Park, Near Totems’ Return to Mother Earth
“Ignite our Neart (Heart courage) for change”
Spring Equinox – Bowen Park, near Millstone River
“Dance into Balance and the Uprising Energies of Spring”
Beltane – Cedar, BC, chez Roblyn, by fire and under a Linden tree
“Dance for our Highest Strivings”
Summer Solstice at Pipers Lagoon
“Feast on Sun and Sea”
Lammas –- Pacific Gardens Cohousing (planned for Newcastle Island but plan B due to forest fire smoke).
“Being with What Is”
Fall Equinox – Piper’s Lagoon.
“Sink with the Sun into Fall”
Samhain – planned for the woods in Bowen Park and held at the Pacific Gardens Co-Housing due to snow and rain
“Connecting to the Bones of the Ancestors”